Review: Narcos Season 3 Episode 2 “The Cali KGB”

In creating a television centred around a cat and mouse game, the writers will always face challenges that stem from formula and expectation. Primarily for Narcos, as is visible in this episode, the general issue is the structural restrictions resulting from the pressure of bureaucracy upon characters. In many cases these administrative boundaries and oversight can help add tension to a situation, or allow it to unravel in a manner that tests characters, but in others it seems repetitive, as Pena finds out, again limited in how much he can contribute to the narrative. Luckily, however, the system Jorge has to fight leads to absorbing results, as Matias Varela delivers an excellent performance of a man split at the moral cross-roads, torn between loyalty to his family and to the Cali. Its a simple, yet superbly executed, exploration of the ramifications of the Cartel, one that is unfortunately repeated and less effective in the case of Maria Salazar. The action at the end also points to a growing flair and energy that has been somewhat missing so far from this season. 8.2/10

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